Wednesday, 14 December 2016

INTERVIEW: Gabriela Garcia, currently playing Nina in IN THE HEIGHTS at the Kings Cross Theatre

Lin-Manuel Miranda came to see the show, how was it knowing you were performing to him?
It was both unbelievably nerve racking and exciting in equal measure! However, the fact that I was able to manage my nerves and was still able to do the show, proved to me how far I have come since I was a student at ArtsEd. Having Lin in the audience was something I never thought would happen to me- I admire him so much- it was literally a dream come true. 

When the show opened you started in a much smaller track, and now have moved on to performing the role full time. How was it watching the show progress and also your part?
Amazing! I would not have had it any other way- the fact that I was able to play both Yolanda and Nina meant I got to see the piece from 2 different viewpoints. It also gave me the opportunity to perform some of Yolanda's brilliant dance tracks but still sing and act in Nina's iconic scenes. Also I learnt so much from being an understudy and had the privilege of learning a lot from the actresses that played Nina before me. 

I’ve read that In the Heights was a dream show for you, how is it now you’re not only in it but are one of the leads?!
It's crazy! EVERY day I have to pinch myself- to be honest whenever I stop and actually think about the fact I'm living one of my biggest dreams I find it really hard to believe- it is still so surreal, I'm so grateful. 

You came over to the UK to pursue your career, what made you chose to come and train over here?
I had an instant connection with London when I came here for the first time- I just love it and was lucky enough to also have a Spanish passport so it made it easier to be able to work here.

What does the show mean to you?
THIS show is the reason I became an actress, I saw it in New York and at that time I realised I wanted to tell stories for a living. It's a show that I relate to so much on a personal level because it talks so much about home, leaving everything behind to follow your dreams and finding your identity.

What is your favourite part in the show?
Argh there are so many!- I really enjoy singing 'if I lived in Puerto Rico with my people, my people' in 'When you are home' and I love watching 'Carnaval del Barrio' especially when the ensemble sing 'esa bonita bandera, contiene mi alma entera' (that beautiful flag bears my whole soul) 

How would you describe the show to someone who hasn’t seen it?
One of the most amazing musicals you will ever experience. You HAVE to see it. 

Of course Hamilton is coming over to the UK next year, are there any parts in that you’d like to play?
Yes! I would love to play Eliza one day, don't know if I'm ready to play her yet but it's another dream of mine.

If you could give your 16 year old self advice, what would you say?
Is it really stagey/cheesy to say Patience and faith?...Patience pays and be kind.

In the Heights closes in January, do you have any plans for afterwards?
Keep auditioning, keep taking classes and keep finding things that inspire me...

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